Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Finance Can Get a Big Advantage from Big Data

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 16, 2013 8:22:39 AM

All the hubbub around big data and analytics has many senior finance executives wondering what the big deal is and what they should do about it. It can be especially confusing because much of what’s covered and discussed on this topic is geared toward technologists and others working outside of Finance, in areas such as sales, marketing and risk management. But finance executives need to position their organization to harness this technology to support the strategic goals of their company. To do so, they must have clarity as to what big data can do, what they want it to do, and what skills and tools they need to meet their objectives.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Fraud, Governance, GRC, audit, Controller, process, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, compliance, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Risk, Financial Performance Management, financial risk management, operational risk

IBM Showcases Big Data and Analytics for Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 14, 2013 11:25:41 AM

IBM hosted the Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference in Toronto recently to emphasize the strategic importance of this topic to the company and to highlight recent and forthcoming advancements in its big data and analytics software. Our firm followed the presentations with interest. My colleagues Mark Smith and Tony Cosentino have commented on IBM’s execution of its big data strategy and its approach to analytics. As well, Ventana Research has conducted benchmark research on challenges in big data.

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Topics: Big Data, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Bank, MRO, telematics, Analytics, Business Analytics, IBM, Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), FPM, Maximo, profitability management, TM1, Watson

Software Aims To Prevent Foreign Corrupt Practices

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 8, 2013 10:51:18 PM

In some parts of the world, bribing government officials is still considered a normal cost of doing business. Elsewhere there has been a growing trend over the past 40 years to make it illegal for a corporation to pay bribes. In the United States, Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 1977 in the wake of a succession of revelations of companies paying off government officials to secure arms deals or favorable tax treatment. More recently other governments have implemented anticorruption statutes. The U.K., for instance, enacted the strict Bribery Act in 2010 to replace increasingly ineffective statutes dating back to 1879. The purpose of these actions is to enable ethical and law-abiding companies to compete on a level playing field with those that are neither. A cynic might wonder about the real, functional difference between, say, Wal-Mart’s recent payments to officials in Mexico to accelerate approval of building permits and the practice in New York City of having to engage expediters to ensure timely sign-offs on construction approval documents. No matter – the latter is legal (it’s a domestic issue, after all) while the former is not.

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Topics: SAP, ERP, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), bribery, Business Analytics, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, compliance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), FPM, Oversight Systems

Using Maturity Assessments to Improve Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 30, 2012 11:04:07 AM

The idea of devising and using maturity assessments to improve business performance has been a staple of management, functional and strategic consultants for decades. It’s based on two unassailable principles. One is the general assertion that companies differ in their ability to do anything along a range from nonexistent to advanced. The second is that at any time it’s possible for a knowledgeable individual to construct a scale of competence for some business function from least to most mature based on the important characteristics about how an organization designs and executes that function. Using maturity scales is a handy way for executives and managers to size up where they lie on a continuum of capabilities and an easy way to define the steps necessary for improvement. Maturity assessments have the advantage of being straightforward, but there’s the danger that they can be overly simplistic.

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Topics: Performance Management, Social Media, Governance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), process, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), benchmark, FPM, maturity

What a Bugatti Can Teach Us About Information Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 29, 2012 11:37:25 AM

One of the community groups to which I donate my time is an organization that puts on a Concours d’Élegance – a vintage car show. Such Concours date back to seventeenth-century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered to see who had the best carriages and most beaudacious horses. Our Concours serves as the centerpiece to a broader mission of raising money for several charities. There a many such events in the United States and elsewhere, but this one, which has been held every year since 1956, has the distinction of being the longest continuously running Concours in the United States.

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Topics: Big Data, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Talent Management, FPM

Good Data Stewardship Is Critical for Business Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 24, 2012 12:29:51 PM

Our research consistently finds that defects in data are the root cause of a wide range of problems encountered by modern corporations. The magnitude of the problem correlates with the size of the company: Big companies have bigger headaches than midsize ones. Data issues diminish productivity in every part of a business as people struggle to correct errors or find workarounds. Issues with data are a man-made phenomenon, yet companies seem to treat bad data as some sort of force of nature like a tornado or earthquake – something that’s beyond their control to fix. At best they look for one-off workarounds and Band-Aids without tackling the root causes or recognizing the need to keep data issues in check. Data stewardship can and should be a part of a disciplined approach to management in the same way organizations implement quality control, cash management and legal compliance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), FPM

Operational Risk Management Is a New Imperative

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 29, 2012 12:36:45 PM

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but our recent Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) benchmark research shows that companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness – especially operational risk. A majority of companies lag in their overall GRC maturity, as I covered in a recent blog post. Operational risk management should be of greater interest to executives today because they can have greater control of it than before. The expansion of IT systems to automate and support most business processes has made it easier than ever to measure, monitor and report on what’s going on in a company. It’s now practical to expand the scope of operational risk management and improve companies’ effectiveness in handling risk events when they occur.

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Topics: Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Management, process, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), financial risk management, operational risk

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 27, 2012 1:28:10 PM

Anyone who focuses on the practical uses of information technology, as I do, must consider the data aspects of adopting any new technology to achieve some business purpose. Reliable data must be readily available in the necessary form and format, or that shiny new IT bauble you want to deploy will fall short of expectations. Our research benchmarks cover a range of core business and IT processes, and they regularly demonstrate that data deficiencies are a root cause of issues organizations have in performing core functions; typically the larger the company, the more severe the data issues become.

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Topics: Social Media, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), IBM Business Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, CIO, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Oversight Systems Focuses on Saving Money and Preventing Fraud

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 31, 2012 11:26:44 AM

I recently spoke with Oversight Systems, an operational intelligence analytics company that uses predictive analytics and optimization to help companies save money, reduce the risk of loss and fraud, and reinforce corporate governance and compliance efforts. Ventana Research views operational intelligence as an emerging technology with the potential for a high return on investment. By continuously monitoring activities in a company’s IT systems, Oversight’s Web-based software continuously, consistently and objectively monitors all business processes to identifies opportunities to save money, cut fraud, minimize risk and provide real-time controls to support governance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Fraud, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), audit, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), controls, Oversight Systems

Infor Presents Itself as a Large Software Startup

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 30, 2012 11:28:33 AM

Infor described this year’s Inforum user group meeting as a coming-out party for a large startup company. Such a debut was necessary because Infor had been operating in something of a stealth mode for the past three years: a limited marketing presence, no unified message and a weak, sometimes inconsistent brand identity. It also needed to formally introduce Infor to customers of Lawson, the ERP supplier it acquired last year. The “startup” designation is meant to signal that Infor has been able to render a decade-long consolidation of dozens of smaller companies into one cohesive entity.

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Topics: Performance Management, Salesforce.com, SAP, Social Media, Sustainability, ERP, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Epiphany, expense management, Lawson, strategy, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Business Intelligence (BI), CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Infor, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management